School is back in session, and it's came roaring in full-force. I went from relaxing, traveling, working on personal projects, and having an overall fantastic vacation to running headlong into the semester. Clubs are starting, classes are assigning homework, summer plans are becoming imminent, and for lack of a better blog idea, I'm now present to you:
EVERYTHING MARCELLA IS DOING THIS SEMESTER
I'm taking a pretty heavy load this semester: two Computer Science (CS) classes, a math, a natural science, and an art class. In my professor’s words, Programming Languages is about the marriage between math and programming; it should be fascinating. Computational Biology, or bioinformatics, uses high-level programming techniques to study the structure and function of molecules and genomic sequences. My math class is the second half of Real Analysis, which is basically proving why calculus works. I'm finishing up my engineering requirements with the introductory Chemistry class, and to round out my schedule, I'm taking a calligraphy studio art class, taught by a professor from the SMFA here at Tufts.
At the end of last semester, I was elected president of the Association of Computing Machinery, which is the undergraduate computer science group. We're focusing on building a better community in the CS department, especially so that students in the introductory classes can make connections with upperclassmen and have better access to the resources available to them. We've been working on a couple of programs to foster that community, including student-run hangouts, an undergraduate lecture series, and some events related to the next entry…
A group of current seniors are putting on the second annual hackathon at Tufts this February, and I volunteered to come on as a "apprentice" so the tradition can continue after they graduate. The point of the event is to let students come and work on a project—a 24 hour coding event that culminates with everyone demonstrating what they’ve built. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes on to pull everything together, and that’s what I’ve been helping out with.
I’m a teaching assistant for the introductory computer science class. The best part is holding office hours, where I met one-on-one with students and helped them figure out difficult concepts and work on their programming projects. It’s very satisfying to watch the ‘aha’ moment happen when I’m explaining something tricky. I also occasionally pick up shifts at Hodgdon, making burritos and sandwiches. I worked there regularly last year, we always had good times and silly hat days.
I've been spending a lot of time in the past couple of months working on getting an internship for the summer. I went to a couple of events that were great networking opportunities, like Grace Hopper in October, the career fair here at Tufts, and the University Hacker Olympics in San Francisco last week. I also spent some time over break working on individual projects, learning new technologies, and getting experience in areas that I'd never had the time to explore. I did research on cool places to work, sent out dozens of resumes, and had a handful of interviews, all of which culminated in an offer that I'm super excited about.
I'm co-president of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. We're a pretty chill religious group. We hold weekly meetings, participate in Interfaith initiatives like raising money for the Greater Boston Food Bank with a bake sale, hosting movie nights (Prince of Egypt, anyone?) and celebrating religious holidays together. It's fairly low-key, but my co-president and I spend time planning meetings and events and strategizing on how to get new members.
That’s a fairly comprehensive summary of my life on-campus. I also have free time, occasionally. Friday nights I go out for dinner with my freshman year hallmates. I’m still working on Project Euler, which is fun, and I'm playing around with a few side projects—figuring out android app development and trying out web design. That's about it... let the semester begin!